The No. 17 LSU football team started out slowly against New Mexico State and needed a quarterback change to pull away from the Aggies.
LSU (4-1, 0-1 SEC) defeated New Mexico State (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) 63-7 by the leadership of freshman quarterback Brandon Harris.
Sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings started the game, fumbling the ball on the first drive and throwing two interceptions in the first quarter.
The lone offensive touchdown in the first quarter was punched in by senior running back Terrence Magee from 11 yards out. The other touchdown in the first quarter came from an interception for a touchdown by sophomore linebacker Kendell Beckwith.
Following poor play from Jennings, Harris entered the game at quarterback with 9:28 left in the second quarter.
"We had predetermined that we would play [Harris] significantly in this football game," said LSU coach Les Miles. "We felt like we wanted to bring him in the position where he could step on the field and go."
The quarterback change quickly paid off, as Harris led the Tigers on an 11 play, 80-yard touchdown drive in his first appearance. The drive was capped off by a 17-yard rushing touchdown by freshman running back Leonard Fournette.
Harris added a 27-yard touchdown through the air to freshman wide receiver Malachi Dupre on the ensuing Tiger drive.
The Tigers added two more touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half, after New Mexico State freshman quarterback Andrew Allen ran for a 79-yard touchdown. The first from Fournette on a five-yard carry, with sophomore fullback Melvin Jones adding a three-yard touchdown to give LSU a 42-7 lead at halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, Harris orchestrated an eight play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural scored the touchdown on a 10-yard pitch-and-catch from Harris.
Harris scored two rushing touchdowns on back-to-back offensive drives, from one and two-yards out.
With the Tigers lead extended to 63-7, the Tigers brought in third-string junior quarterback Brad Kragthorpe to finish the game.
Harris led the team in passing, with 178 yards and three touchdowns while completing 11-of-14 passing attempts. Harris added 36 rushing yards on five carries and two touchdowns.
"I felt like Brandon Harris came in and did exactly what we needed him to do," Miles said. "He performed well, handled all the communications and a multitude of things we ask a quarterback to do."
Fournette had his coming-out-party against the Aggies, compiling 122 yards rushing with two touchdowns and 33 yards through the air. Magee added 62 yards and one touchdown on eight carries.
"Coach says be patient. That's what I am working on," Fournette said. "As you can see it helped me out a lot."
Dupre finished with 3 catches, 54 yards, and one touchdown. Quinn was second on the team in receiving yards with 46 on three catches.
LSU’s defense returned to top form after a poor game against Mississippi State in last week’s loss.
"The defense played really well in tough situations," Miles said.
The defensive unit managed to intercept sophomore quarterback Tyler Rogers two times, with Beckwith taking the second for a touchdown. The Tigers were also able to force two turnovers on the ground.
Aside from Allen’s 79-yard touchdown, the Tigers held New Mexico State to 93 rushing and 102 passing yards.
Senior linebacker D.J. Welter and junior linebacker Kwon Alexander led the Tigers in tackles with eight each.
"[Communicating] was the main goal," Beckwith said. "I think we did a good job."
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Rogers finished with 86 passing yards and two interceptions on 14-for-31 attempts.
Allen led the Aggies with 113 rushing yards and one touchdown on five attempts.
Sophomore wide receiver Teldrick Morgan led the team with five catches and 44 receiving yards.
LSU will look to build off the dominating performance when they go to Jordan-Hare Stadium to play Auburn next Saturday.
"We will get a game plan ready for those guys," Miles said. "It's a lot fun preparing for a real quality opponent, and they are that."